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Harrison Collins

Male 1914 - 1999  (84 years)

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  • Name Harrison Collins 
    Born 8 December 1914  Big Rapids,MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 18 August 1915  Grace Church-Long Rapids,MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Summer Home On WA Island,WI 
    Died 25 January 1999  IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • My husband and I visited Harrison and Caroline for the first time in the Spring of 1985. We had a fine conversation about the Collins family. Harry had many stories about the family and photos which he graciously shared with me. Carolineintertained Don with her excellant art objects which she had done herself ie; Thorem, which is a very old type of art work.
      In 1987 Harrison stated that the “family picture book is coming along slowly- pretty wellblocked out now but many pictures to be improved and much writing to do. when finished-if ever-you must see it.
      In the year of 1991-Carolyn and Harry wanted to visit son Jim in Moscow, where he is Deputy Chief at the American Embassy.They were fortunate in finding a man in CA who conducts tours of the Soviet Union.He is a long-time friend of Jim’s and aprofessor at CA State College at Fullerton. The tour took them to Leningrad, Yalta, Kiev and Moscow during the two weeks beginning June 20. They then spent a week at Jim’s place in the embassy compound.Grandson Jonathon was also there, spendingthe summer with his dad and working as an intern in the Moscow bureau of CNN news. Harry & Caroline flew home July 11, Caroline’s birthday. It was not long after this that things happened in Moscow. Because the United States had no ambassadorthere when the coup took place, Jim was our man on the scene, reporting to the President and dealing with Yeltsin et al. Naomi and Jonathon were also there at the time and both managed to get to the airport despite the tanks and troop carriersfilling the roads.
      1992, We are making some progress on the illustrated family history, but it is slow work. we were in England last summer and found Mapperton-my grandfather Collins birthplace.
      1994- Harry has been completing his eigth decade in good style. In favorable weather he goes to the forest preserve to walk on the bike trail and feed the squirrels who wait for him to appear each day.Garlic capsules seem to control his bloodpressure very successfully- the doctor is amazed. Caroline has been busy with Theorem painting (oil colors stencilled on velvet). A number of them are now framed and hanging in the house. She has found another Guild member in Ingleside, IL, about35 miles away and goes to her house about once a week to paint and use her theorem patterns. During the year Caroline also gave lectures on antique decoration to several groups in the area and is finishing trays and other artices in her typicallycrafty manner. Jeff’s appraisal business fluctuates with the rise and fall of the real estate market, but continues to go along well. We keep track of Jim and his family by frequent phone calls and infrequent visits. Jim and Naomi were here for abrief stay on their way home from a vacation in Hawaii.Jim continues his position with the State Department in charge of the Bureau of Eurasian Republics. Effectively he is an Assistant Secretary of State. Naomi continues her position as ExectiveDirector of the Association of International Educators--NAFSA. Robert is in his last year of law school and has been assured of a position next year in a prestigious Washington law firm. Debby has just begun a new job with Martin Marietta Corp.Jonathon won admission to the film school at UCLA and is studying film script writing there. Jim and Jeff have arranged for an elaborate party two days before Christmas to celebrate Harry’s 80th birthday anniversary. They have invited about ninetypeople for dinner at the Sheraton North Shore Hotel in Northbrook. Harry adds that there is nothing new to report on the family history project. We have found that writing our memories of each of the people whose pictures we have is a long andtedious job. We hope to finish by the Spring of 1995 and put the book together.
      1995 In the summer Jim was appointed Ambassador-at-large to the New Republics.He is posted in WA, but travels frequently to such spots as Ukraine,Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan. His confirmation by the Senate was delayeduntil just a few days ago, and we may attend the swearing-in ceremony after Christmas. Naomi continues as CEO of NAFSA: Association of Interrnational Educators and travels extensively both in this country and abroad. Our life in Northfield goes onas usual. Caroline is busy painting. A set of eight Hitchcock chairs is nearly done. She gave several lectures during the year. Harry works hard at being 81 years old. His emphysema was troublesome during the summer and put him in the hospital fora week in October, but he is now much better.
      1996-Caroline and Harry spend considerable time working with the collection of family photographs and compiling a family history. They also continue to attend many plays and musical stage performances in Chicago and Evanston,IL Caroline is stillbusy with antique decoration, this year finishing a two wag-on-the-wall clock faces. She currently has an exhibit of her work at the Northfield Public Library. She also belongs to several women’s organizations that gets her out of the house forluncheons with interesting programs. We had hoped to show you our history-album work this fall. The material you (Loretta) sent has been helpful. We’ll see you in ‘97.
      1997-The big news in our family, of course, is the appointment and confirmation of son Jim as United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation. He was sworn in on the day after Labor Day, and we were all there to see that it was done right. Thesetting was the reception rooms on the top floor of the State Department, which are beautifully furnished with American antiques and portraits of famous Americans of the last two centuries. We also had a nice luncheon in the Henry Clay Room forfamily and close friends of the ambassador.We came home the next day, and Jim left for Moscow about the same. He is there now and enjoying his work very much. He has been using his residence as a salon for the arts, entertaining well-knownartists, such as violinist Isaac Stern,writer Norman Mailer, jazzer Dave Brubeck and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. He also threw a reception for the Vice President attended by 600 guests ( he says they ate enough for 800). And for Thanksgiving heinvited 65 guests who had American connections: embassy personnel, American exchange students, some Russians who had studied here, three ambassadors whose wives are American, and some other Americans who happened to be in Moscow. The ambassador’sresidence in Moscow deserves special mention.It is a hugh 19th-century mansion called Spaso House( 35,000 SF,12 bedrooms, a ball room large enough to seat 150 people at a banquet). It is beautifully decorated and furnished and comes with a staffof 14 plus and an Indian chef. Our government rents it from the Russians, and the rental agreement was signed back in Soviet times for $75,000 annually. To our great benefit, the lease states the rent amount in rubles,and we are paying theequivalent of $22 per year.We do not know what the Russian word is for “re-negotiate”, but understand that they are using it frequently.Caroline and Harry continue to work on the Illustrated Family History Albums--a long, long job- but it will bevery rewarding when finished.We know of no one who has so much recorded family history sitting around, particularly with pictures all identified. The work received a boost last August when cousin Vic Fox hosted a gathering of Fox family members athis home in Lost Lake Woods in Michigan. We were able to exchange some information and pictures. We anticipate completing the albums in a month or two. The text is essentially done, and assembly is the remaining task.
      1999-For us at the Collins household, 1999 was a year of great change. It began with Harry’s passing on January 25. We are happy that Harry could keep active, at least to some degree, until the last month and a half of his life. His last time outwas to our favorite Japanese restaurant at the beginnig of December 1998, and from then on he was confined to the house.We had the finest in-home care that anyone could hope for. In March we held a memorial service at Sunset Ridge School, in theold front hall that is much the same today as when Harry arrived in the 1940’s More than 100 friends and relatives attended. Jim, Naomi, Jeff, Robert, and Jonathon all spoke.The memorial concluded with Jim’s ringing an antique school bell. Thebell came from the one room White School in Wheatland Twp., where Caroline and our Clow ancestors were educated. Jim and Jeff also attended the White School for a few years. Sunset Ridge School is planning a lasting memorial to Harry. More than$4,000 in contrbutions were collected, and the decision about what kind of memorial to choose will be made in a few weeks. One possibility is a bust. On a happier note, Caroline moved to the Presbyterian Home in Evanston at the beginning off thesummer. The year 2001 has been an enjoyable and rewarding one. We are all well and keeping very involved with our many interests. I have adjusted to living in this retirement home. It is quite a change, but one must look at the bright side! I havemy car, and so am independent. I turned 85 in July and can’t believe the wonderful shape I’m in. I walk a mile every day - in 18 minutes. Not bad, eh? In addition to my daily exercise I am still working on my autobiography, take adult educationclasses at Northwestern and am involved in a genealogy group. I also go out often to lunch with my dear friends. So you see, life is never dull! Jeff and I attend many theater productions in the city. And most of all, when I visit Jeff’s house, Ienjoy the company of our wonderful samoyed, Wee Gordie.
      Jeff is busy with a new project, a not-for-profit corporation he is setting up to present programs at retiremeny homes,schools and other similar venues. He hopes thereby to further the cause of the arts in these areas while providing much neededopportunities for performers, especially young ones who are just starting their careers. He gave up his position as a fundraiser for Famous Door Theatre in the fall in order to devote his full time to this project. He hopes to incorporate therecitation of poetry into the programs, a performance form that is largely ignored these days.
      Jim left his ambassadorial post in July, after nearly four years in Moscow, and has now retired from the State Department. Retired is really the wrong word - it is more like a career change. He now works for the law firm of Akin and Grmp inWashington, DC, developing global business and investment activities, particularly in Russia. He also travels up to Harvard to take part in seminars and research work at the Kennedy School, isinvolved with the library of Congress RussianLeadership Program, and is giving speeches on a regular basis. Now he gets paid for speeches - while a State Department employee, he was not allowed to accept a fee.
      Jim and Naomi have purchased a vacation home in Cambria,CA. Cambria is on the Pacific coast, just south of the Hearst Castle. It is a very picturesque spot: their home is on a hill overlooking the ocean about a mile away.It is fun to watch theseals and sea otters while taking walks along the coast.Jeff and I were there for Christmas last year and visited again in the summer.
      The grandsons are both busily pursuing their careers and dreams. Robert is an attorney in Chicago. Jonathan has become a total Califorian and works in the area of website design. We wish we could see them more often, but these days it seems thateveryone is more busy than ever. Where is all of the spare time created by labor-saving devices?
      As I have so much free time I reminisce - recalling so many dear friends and happy celebrations - all the wonderful memories. This holiday season, the family will be spread around. Jim,Naomi, and Jonathan will be in CA for Christmas. Robert andhis girlfriend Alex will spend Christmas Eve and Day at her mother’s place in Wheaton - they’re coming to Evanston for a little pre-celebratiion on Sunday evening,12/23. Jeff and I will be at Jeff’f place in Evanston, entertaining cousins JohnKness and Ann Palen together with Ann’s parents and sister. It will be Jeff’s first Christmas tree at his new house. Actually, it will be Wee Gordie’s first tree, ever. We’re hoping he will leave the presents alone! In fact, we’re hoping he willleave the tree alone!
      I hope your holidays are merry and bright! And that Christmas will not be too white!
    Person ID I2108  Lorrie Dowling
    Last Modified 1 January 1904 

    Father George Washington Collins,   b. 28 February 1887, Long Rapids,MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 February 1958, Lombard,IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Mother Jane [Jennie] Christina Fox,   b. 15 November 1885, Long Rapids,MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 January 1966, Lombard,IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Married 29 June 1910  Grace Episcapal -Long Rapids,MI Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F405  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse Living 
    +1. Living
     2. Living
    Family ID F1443  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S203] .

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